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Santa Barbara Chinese-American Association Rings In Chinese New Year

Dance and a musical variety program put a flourish on celebration of year of the Yang Water Dragon

Like an omen, rain poured Friday night before tapering off as daylight came Saturday. Jan. 21 was the local celebration of the Chinese New Year sponsored by the Santa Barbara Chinese-American Association.

In Chinese Zodiac, 2012 (Jan. 23, 2012, to Feb. 9, 2013) is the year of the Yang Water Dragon, which contains earth, water and wood signifying growth. It occurs every 60 years (the next one is 2072), from the east/southeast in the hours of 7 to 9 a.m., associated with daytime masculinity, speed, solidity, aggressiveness, the elements of thunder and lighting, the best in creativity, and accumulation of wealth.

Neil Chu, a Mesa resident and president of the Santa Barbara Chinese-American Association, welcomed guests to SBCC’s Fe Bland Auditorium on the West Campus, where for the second year the celebrations were held.

“We are happy that we were able to replace the worn 20-year-old dragon with a new one from China, thanks to donors such as Santa Barbara Bank & Trust,” he pointed out.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider joined local Chinese-Americans, sharing tidbits about the legendary animal symbol and recalling her visit in Weihai, Santa Barbara’s sister city in China’s Shandong Province.

A musical variety program highlighting the Chinese culture started with the traditional Dragon Dance outdoors and on stage.

Musicians play Chinese instruments at the year of the Yang Water Dragon celebration.
Musicians play Chinese instruments at the year of the Yang Water Dragon celebration. (Santa Barbara Chinese-American Association photo)

Featured were a dance duet from Sino West Performing Arts Center in Goleta, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, with Vicki Wang and Dragon Sun, who also performed the Terra Cotta warrior dance; an alto solo by Guan Hao; Tai Chi performance and calligraphy; the Santa Barbara Huasheng Chorus with the song of Yangzi River and their female members with O Mio Babbino Caro; World Dance Santa Barbara with Colored Clouds chasing the Moon; the Thousand Oaks Chinese Music Ensemble with traditional Chinese instruments; an instrumental duet by Joel Tan (violin) and Nathan Tsai (piano); a soprano solo by Ling Zhu; and a tenor trio by Jay Yang, Tao Chen and Wen Yuan Xia.

It was truly a heart-warming experience for the local Chinese-American community and their many friends who came to celebrate. The actual New Year is Monday, Jan. 23, which also has rain in the forecast.

— Alice SanAndres-Calleja is a Santa Barbara resident and editor/publisher of The Mesa Paper.

A new dragon wends its way around SBCC's West Campus.
A new dragon wends its way around SBCC’s West Campus. (Santa Barbara Chinese-American Association photo)

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